Painting under canal bridges project

Inside the boundaries of the city of Worcester the canal is spanned by many bridges. Some of these are modern and in good condition. Some are old but in a good condition which shows off the bricks which are themselves an important part of Worcester industrial history. However, several are deteriorating and in need of attention. We have the permission of the Canal and River Trust to give these bridges that attention. Three in particular stand out. They are all of the same square design and at present are painted the same unattractive dark green colour. They are marked with graffiti, are reputed to be the site of drug trafficking and are certainly close to spots where quite serious police incidents have occurred in the last year.

Our idea is to turn these sites into a heritage trail by painting the large rectangular canal facing side of these bridges with scenes reflecting the importance of the canal to Worcester life over the last two hundred years. An indication of the kind of effect this can produce can already be seen. With the cooperation of the property developers currently working on the site we recently painted a number of the temporary hoardings facing the canal behind what was one of the stands of the Worcester City Football Club ground. This work was done jointly with residents of St Paul’s Hostel. It has been well received. So:

Bridge one: St Georges Lane North. This is next to the Cavalier public house which will be demolished and redeveloped in the near future. More importantly it is very close to what was the St Georges lane football ground. Worcester city football club have gone and there is nothing to show that they were ever there. We would like to paint a football related scene here. For example, Worcester City scoring to knock Liverpool out of the FA cup. We would expect to talk to the supporters club with a view to involving them.

Bridge two: Lansdowne Road. This adjoins the site of the Water Festival. Here we would like to show the Arborteum as it was when it was an arboretum. There is extensive cross over between our group and the Arboretum Residents association. We anticipate undertaking this jointly with them.

Bridge three: Park Street: The canal here was vital to Worcesters industries. We would like to show this, perhaps by reproducing some of the distinctive Royal Worcester Porcelain patterns. We would expect to discuss this with the staff at the Royal Worcester Porcelain museum.

Costs are difficult to estimate accurately at this stage. Some repair work will need to be carried out to make the surfaces suitable for painting and that has not yet been costed. A solid background coat of paint will be needed. The paints used will need to be suitable for exterior use and some may, such as those for the porcelain , may need to be mixed as a “one off” colour. There will need to be safety precautions taken and signs put up. £100 per bridge would be an optimistic estimate. So we are asking for £300.

Having said that, once work begins it can be completed fairly quickly. The hoardings already referred to took four people one week. Better preparation of surfaces and use of longer lasting materials adds to that.  Even so, four weeks will probably be adequate. We would like to start as soon as possible and have the work completed in time for the Water Festival in June.

Monitoring Wildlife in Worcester

Worcestershire Wildlife TrustThe Worcestershire Wildlife Trust has more than 20000 members. It manages more than 77 nature reserves, covering over 2650 acres across the county. The guide to the reserves lists 11 “all season wildlife walks”, 28 “local wildlife treasures” and 18 “delicate wildlife gems”. There are over 500 local wildlife sites which the trust does not manage, but does visit and track. This means that membership of the trust allows access to large sites and small sites, woods, marshes, meadows , fields, dingles, gravel pits and coppices.  For people who are travelling around the county, for instance people with narrowboats, membership is well worth considering. Worcestershire Wildlife Trust is based at Lower Smite Farm, Smite Hill, Hindlip, Worcestershire WR3 8SZ, (quite close to the Sixways rugby stadium just outside Worcester ) tel: 01905 754919, enquiries@ worcestershirewildlifetrust.org, www.worcswildlifetrust.co.uk.

Based at the same address is the Worcestershire Biological Records Centre.

There are two projects aimed at surveying and monitoring wildlife which members might like to get involved with. It is not necessary to be an expert. If you do not know what species something you see belongs to that is fine. It is a lot like a project the RSPB has been running for some years now, where people are asked to record the bird species they see in their gardens.

The first project is called Wild Walks. The idea here is to monitor wildlife on the nature reserves. It allows users to log wildlife sightings and map records of plants and animals across the trusts landscape scale conservation schemes.  Not many of the reserves have a canal running through them; Hanbury Wharf may be an exception. However,  quite a few reserves are reasonably close to the canal, for example Droitwich Community woods and Upton Warren wetland reserve. So, to take part you consult the map of a nature reserve in Worcestershire and identify a route through this “living landscape”. You then travel this route and record what you see. The more times the route is travelled the more useful the results will be.  The maps can be found on the website. The monitoring form is very simple. It is notebook size. It asks for information on: grid ref/location i.e., which walk, date, recorder, group and then species. All species can be recorded; birds, insects, fungi, plants and fish.  If you would like to be involved in this project take a look at the information on the website. The contact person is  Michael Liley, tel: 01905 754 919.

The second is run by the Worcestershire Biological Records Centre (www.wbrc.org.uk). The contact person for this project is Simon Wood tel: 01905 759759, email: simon@wbrc.org.uk, or for biological recording data email records@wbrc.org.uk. The monitoring form is the same and again all species are included.  The idea here is to record outside the nature reserves. So for us in the Worcester Canal Group with our focus on the canal from Diglis basin to Perdiswell park this is the project we are interested in. Some parts of the canal are close to local wildlife sites. So for instance the allotments at Lansdowne Road are a nationally important site for slow worms. The whole of the canal network in Worcestershire could be surveyed in this way. All it would take is people willing to do it, an hour a week wherever you happen to be would provide useful information.

Help Operate the Cathedral Ferry

The people who run the Cathedral ferry are looking for one or two new volunteers to join those who operate the rowboat ferry by the Cathedral during summer weekend afternoons.

They need reasonably able-bodied men or women willing to give a few afternoons a year to spend on the river, greeting visitors and making them feel welcome to Worcester whilst rowing them safely across.

Full training given.

Get in touch if you’re interested.

Design a logo for the Worcester Canal Festival

To bring all of this under a single umbrella we are launching a competition to design a symbol or logo for the Worcester Canal Festival which will be used to promote the festival around the city and on the site itself.

Entrants have the freedom to use their imagination within the following constraints:

  • The words ‘Worcester Canal Festival’ should appear with the symbol – contestants may do their own lettering or the organisers will insert appropriate lettering
  • A simple, bold idea will give more impact
  • A maximum of three colours plus black to be used
  • All entries to be emailed as a PDF to info@worcestercanalgroup.org.uk
  • The competition will close at midnight on Sunday 26 April
  • The symbol will become property of the organisers
  • The winner will be announced by publication in The Worcester News
  • The judge’s decision will be final

All entries will be displayed on the Worcester Canal Group webpage where there will be an opportunity to vote (one vote only) for your favourite entry (ability to vote to be added after competition closes). During March and April selected entries will appear in the Worcester News. The final decision will be made by a combination of the public vote and the organiser’s judge’s panel.

wbdcs.org.uk    worcestercanalgroup.org.uk    thearboretum.org.uk